Flipkart in talks to invest in online ticketing platform BookMyShow: Report
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India’s largest e-commerce company Flipkart Ltd is in talks to acquire a large minority stake in Mumbai-based online ticketing platform BookMyShow, in which Reliance Industries-controlled Network18 holds a sizeable stake.

Citing people familiar with the development, the Mint reported that Flipkart is looking to infuse fresh capital into BookMyShow through the purchase of shares from some of its existing investors.

According to the report, the startup will be valued at $500-700 million for the proposed transaction.

Owned and operated by Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, BookMyShow was launched in 2007. Today, it is the largest online entertainment ticketing platform in India with a presence across 650 towns and cities. The company offers tickets for movies, plays, sports and live events on its website and mobile app.

The company has been trying to fortify its dominance further with four acquisitions this year, in a segment where Alibaba-backed Paytm is making ambitious bets.

In August, it had acquired video-on-demand platform Nfusion for an undisclosed amount in an all-cash deal. The acquisition is expected to help its foray into audio entertainment. The Sharjah-based Nfusion is an HD video-on-demand platform that allows users stream videos online. BookMyShow will integrate Nfusion’s tech infrastructure to power its recently-launched audio entertainment offering ‘Jukebox’.

In July, the company had acquired Network18-owned restaurant-discovery platform Burrp. It had also bought a 75% stake in Pune-based do-it-yourself event registration and ticketing platform Townscript for an undisclosed amount in February.

In January, BookMyShow had acquired Hyderabad-based ticket-booking platform MastiTickets for an undisclosed amount.

In 2015, the company had bought a majority stake in Bengaluru-based social media analytics startup Eventifier and, in the following year, picked up a stake in Chennai-based fan-relationship management solutions provider Fantain Sports Pvt. Ltd. It had also acquired Chennai-based online ticketing firm TicketGreen in 2013.

According to VCC Edge, the data and analytics platform of News Corp VCCircle, BookMyShow reported total income of Rs 249 crore and profit after tax of Rs 2.5 crore for 2015-16.

Ever since the most recent fundraising round, which saw a slew of heavyweight investors, including SoftBank, Tencent, eBay and Microsoft, infusing close to $4 billion into the company, Flipkart has been working on creating an integrated ecommerce platform offering ecommerce, payments, logistics and ticketing solutions.

A potential deal with BookMyShow will allow Flipkart to enter the online ticketing and entertainment market, which has so far evaded the homegrown e-commerce major at a time when its rivals Amazon and Paytm are aggressively pushing for growth with a slew of products.

In March 2016, Patym had introduced its movie and events ticket booking platform, while Amazon has grown into a major player in the online entertainment space in India with Amazon Prime Video.

Flipkart has allocated Rs 3,000 crore ($460.7 million) for investments, acquisitions and inter-corporate loans after the fundraising. Recently, it had committed to infuse $500 million into its payments arm PhonePe and had infused Rs 961.4 crore into its logistics arm eKart.

BookMyShow had raised Rs 550 crore ($81.5 million) from investors led by New York-based investment firm Stripes Group, with a valuation of $445 million. Existing investors Network 18, Accel Partners and SAIF Partners also took part in the round.

So far the company has raised $128 million, making it one of the most heavily funded entities in the media and entertainment sector. In 2014, the company had raised $25 million from SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and Network18.

Following a $1.4-billion infusion by Japan’s SoftBank, Paytm has been on a multi-pronged expansion drive, foraying into travel booking and movie-ticketing, among others, to align with its core competence of payments.

In July, it had acquired a majority stake in Mumbai-based curated events platform, which is operated by OML (Only Much Louder) Entertainment Pvt. Ltd that runs the annual, multi-city music festival Bacardi NH7 Weekender and TV series The Dewarists. It is a curated lifestyle platform that gives users access to select events and products.

According to Paytm, India’s organised events industry currently stands at Rs 4,000 crore, with online ticketing accounting for a mere 10% of the overall volume. Paytm’s online movie ticketing service spans 3,500 screens across 550 cities.

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